First Myth Post of 2015 — What IS a Hero?

In today’s day and age, the term “hero” frequently gets used and over-used in our popular media.  In fact, one may question whether or not the use of this term in popular discourse is consistently accurate or even useful.  As you shall learn via your class readings, the great scholar of myth Joseph Campbell offered a vital template for heroes and heroism, and once said that “The achievement of the hero is one that he is ready for and it’s really a manifestation of his character. . . The adventure that he is ready for is the one that he gets.”  In his scholarship, Campbell provides a model for the hero and his adventure that is sweeping and highly convincing.  But it also suggests that the heroes of myth and legend are, in certain fundamental ways, discernably different than those “heroes” we see in everyday life.  With this idea in mind, for your first Blog posting of the semester, I would like you to offer your own definition and justification for a real-life “hero.”  This concept is crucial to mythical writing and thus central to our studies this semester, yet it truly is often misunderstood or misperceived.  Hence, I’d like you to answer the following question (taking care NOT to rely on Campbell in your own unique explanation):  in simple terms, just what IS a hero?  In answering this question, you should define, discuss, and illustrate your notion of hero and explain what it means to be heroic.  In time, we will test these ideas by seeing how your notions are similar to – or different than – the ideas of Campbell, as well as the actual heroes depicted in myth and legend throughout the ages.

38 thoughts on “First Myth Post of 2015 — What IS a Hero?

  1. As the old saying goes, unlikely heroes are born in times of chaos and peril. Many people seem to focus on what a hero is built up to be: a brave, selfless, and righteous person. Typically someone with a cause and a commanding presence, who swoons the masses with every word and action, and is the epitome of a charismatic person on top of being, well, perfect at everything.

    But I feel as though there are two types of hero. We have people that are prepared to do what they must do, as a firefighter waits for fire, an officer waits for a criminal, a soldier waits for war. More or less, a prepared hero, someone packaged and typically paid for their services. They’re very good at what they do, and for the most part, this is the preconceived notion of a hero.

    Apart from a prepared hero is a spontaneous hero, someone who’s simply acting out of turn and risking their normality in a dangerous or volatile situation. Anyone can wait for the firefighter’s to come, but, a spontaneous hero might be a nearby businessman or a mother, who just “feels it” for lack of a better term, and jumps into the crashing waves and hectic chaos of a terrible situation in order to try to resolve it. Such a hero is absolutely unprepared, and a lot of times their answer as far as why is “I don’t know what came over me”.

    • I really liked your break down of the two type of heroes; the paid ones and the spontaneous ones. That was similar to what I was trying to get across in my comment as well. Your last paragraph was my favorite, have you ever heard of the multiple cases of mothers picking up cars to save their children? Its incredible what the human body can do with adrenaline.

  2. If I personally think of heroism, the first things that come up are the comic book heroes or everyday people who place themselves in danger in order to protect other people. Many people see a hero as a person who is larger than life who saves people or whose actions are great in their scale. And, in some respects, these are heroes but not to the extent of the meaning of the word. Heroes are those who choose or become the driver of morals and a leader in some sort of belief. Belief in change, belief in redemption, belief in revenge, or hell even belief in belief itself.

    Morality is the biggest thing that defines a hero. This can be broken into two categories of message and motivation. Heroes usually do what they do to send a message in order for their actions to have an impact. It is the impact of these heroes that makes them memorable. The rational of the hero is what makes the hero either heroic or corrupt. Why the hero does what they do leaves the biggest lasting image of their character and depending on their motivation will ensure high regard or forgetful storytelling for the hero.

    Heroes are definitely one of the largest byproducts of myth, but can be seen as either good or bad. Good of lasting impact of people fighting for their beliefs and are made to spread morality. Bad coming from the over use of the character tropes becoming bland and only showing saving people and becoming all-in-one righteous figures. Yet true heroism is not lost today, anyone taking risks for what they believe in is what I take from heroes. Just don’t let all heroes send the wrong message, look into their motives to truly see their morals.

    • I think it is really cool how you thought about morals and motives. I did not even think about it and yet it is so true! It actually made me think about how suicide bombers and the 9/11 terrorists are looked at as heroes in their culture, but in ours they’re villains. It makes you wonder about the different definitions by culture and region of hero and what makes someone a hero.

  3. What is a hero? In my opinion there are two kinds of heroes; an everyday hero and a fictional hero. The fictional kind is just that, fiction. It can be someone like a super hero or any person in a book or movie that may have saved a lot of lives, performs extraordinary things, or has some kind of super power they use for good. The fictional hero often over comes some type of great feat or peril.

    An everyday hero is something a little different. These are usually real people who perform come above some kind of great difficulty, perform an act of bravery, or save a life. In my opinion there are four types of Everyday Heroes. The first type of hero is the trained hero; they are the police officers, firefighters, and military personal. These people save lives and put their own in harms way. These are the type of heroes we rely in our community. The second type I like to call the common hero, they are our teachers, doctors, counselors, and social workers of our community. These people may not risk their lives, but they can change lives and in some cases even save lives. These are the people we go to when we need advise, these are the people who can be there just to talk to someone when they are feeling down. These heroes are not usually recognized as often as they could be and often forgotten when people think of heroes.

    The third type of everyday heroes are the inspirational heroes. These heroes are not the type that saves lives, they change lives. These are the type that over come great obstacles and inspire everyone around them. It could be someone who survived cancer, addiction, or even a car accident. They could have lost a leg and ran again, someone who came from being severely poor, to going to college and making something of their lives. The fourth kind of hero is the personal hero. This is the type of hero you think of when asked, “Who is the biggest hero in your life?” This is a hero who has personally helped you in your life. This could be a parent who really went above and beyond for you, a friend who helped you in your biggest time of need, or a stranger who unexpectedly helped you when you really needed it.

    Over all I feel that a hero is someone who helps another person or a bunch of people, through a hard time or dilemma. It could be the pilot who safely landed the plane in the ocean, the people who stopped Flight 93 from hitting a building, a cancer survivor inspiring others, or even a movie character that made you change a way of thinking. Heroes are all around us, everyday… that does not mean that they are known all over but they might have made an impact on one life that made them a hero.

    • I really like your breakdown of heroism. A trained hero is different from a personal hero in the scope of his or her reach, but they are both equally important.

    • I do not think that you could have broken down the definition any better. I most specifically agree with the breakdown of an everyday hero. I think that these everyday heroes are extremely important figures in our everyday lives, more than people notice, that these people are actually everyday heroes. I just think you defined it perfectly, I could not have even said it better.

  4. What does being a hero mean? Movies, literature and songs have all shown us what a hero should be. According to the media a hero is simply a person who will overcome some type of “insurmountable odds” to achieve a solution that no average person could. They always have the right personality for their situation and come out ahead in the end. Realistically, this is not the case. A real life hero could have this quality of “invulnerability,” but by no means will it be there all the time or possibly even at all. Real life heroes are people who inspire others. Kind and selfless people who make others achieve more because they set a positive model for them through their behavior, attitude, and positive actions. Real life men and women who don’t don a cape and mask to show off their special talents or help others. These people will put others before themselves, even if it may not always be in their own best interest. There will be times when they walk the line, because to err is human, but what makes them truly special is that they not only walk the line but bring people back with them when they jump back to the side of right. Of course, heroes in our media will be a bit over hyped. That’s simply good entertainment. The real trick is to not let the heroes you see or read about in comics, films, etc. replace the men and women who truly deserve the title.

  5. Defining what a hero is can translate to many different ideas or things to different individuals. To myself, a hero is someone who will help or put themselves out their to assist or comfort another individual. To me, a hero does not have to be someone that illustrates a person from a movie or comic book.

    A hero to me would be someone who will help someone, whether they are in trouble or if they need someone to talk to. A hero does not have to go out and fight battles for people, but could rather be their to support a person in a time of need (even if it is just talking or comforting a person).

    There are different types of heroes out there in our world. Hero’s can be anyone such as police officers, fire fighters, a family member, or just the average person. A hero does not have to be someone who stands out or wants to be known as a hero.
    I feel that a true hero is an individual who is not looking for attention, but rather to help a person, because they truly want to help that person.

    I feel that an example of a hero to myself would be the men and women fighting each and everyday for our country. They risk their lives for us and we should see them as heroes.

    What I believe it means to be heroic is not only to be brave, but to stand up for what you believe in. Being heroic takes a lot, and it is for someone who is proud of who they are and is willing to help others around them.

    • I really appreciated how you included the fact that a hero could just simply be having one good person to talk to. So many individuals feel they do not have this in their lives and for some people, just having someone to confide in could truly make that person a hero in his or her eyes. I didn’t even consider this when writing my response and thought it was such a unique angle to go off of when describing what makes someone “heroic”.

  6. Right off the bat, when hearing the term “hero”, I automatically refer back to the story of Beowulf and how his actions reflected him as a hero. With that in mind, I instantly connect the characteristics of loyalty, bravery, strength, selflessness and dependability to the word “hero”. Seldom does my mind think of traditional superheroes, such as Batman and Superman, although they do share the qualities that I would associate with being a hero.

    Another form of heroism that comes to mind is the kind of hero that goes unnoticed; the hero that could be sitting right next to you. In my opinion, those are the most important kinds of heroes and heroines. These everyday heroes may never be noticed for their actions, whether they be somewhat insignificant or if they leave a large impact. Within the everyday heroes, the most important heroes that are noticed, but often criticized are the men and women that fight for their country. These brave heroes include those that protect your community and country. Some may say that these soldiers are not heroes because they are killing people, but if not them to protect our country, then who? It certainly would not be the very same people criticizing them. Those men and women are doing it because they feel that they are able to and owe it to their country.

    Altogether, whether you are fighting monsters in Old English times, a superhero wearing a cape or riding in a Batmobile, the neighbor that saves the old woman’s cat stuck in the tree , or if you are on the front lines in the Middle East, you are a hero. Especially if you are doing the deed or service out of instinct or the kindness of your heart, that intensifies the value of your actions. That is the most important aspect of being a hero; that he or she is fully willing to help others and not think about how it concerns themselves. Every person you meet, even yourself, has the potential to be a hero.

    • I think its really interesting how you brought up the point that a hero is even more valuable if the action is from the heart. That is a really valid point, if someone does something heroic specifically to be noticed for it do you think that is less heroic? Its a very good thought to ponder on! I also like your last sentence that every has the ability to be a hero.

    • I also instinctively thought of Beowulf when I think of what a hero is. He was certainly a larger-than-life altruistic character that was the epitome of the mythological hero. I also agree with your point that modern day hero’s do it more subtly. They are not slaying beasts and doing other fantastic things, but that is OK, what they do is just as important. And I to liked how you said everybody has the potential to be a hero.

  7. A hero in literature is very different from a real-life hero. There are conventions in tragedy that do not exist in our modern world. For example, according to Aristotle, a tragic hero must be an individual of power and importance. In the real world, a hero can be of any status. Therefore, it is important to make the distinction between the traditional literary hero and the modern real-life hero. That said, there are some common traits between the two. Any hero, real or fictional, must be brave, selfless, and good.

    Generally, a character in a book fights a great battle to win the title of hero, but a real-life hero doesn’t have to face a dragon in order to earn this title. A local politician who stands up for the rights of minorities is a hero. So is a soldier who fights for his or her homeland. So too is a mother who supports her child during hard times. All of these individuals make some sort of sacrifice for the sake of other people. The politician faces opposition from his peers, the soldier walks into danger, and the mother gives up her own happiness for that of her child. These acts require bravery, selflessness, and goodness.

    In simple terms, a hero is a champion of the people. It is someone who thinks of the welfare of others instead of his or her own. It doesn’t matter if the hero’s sacrifice impacts one person or an entire nation, as long as someone’s life has been made better by it.

    • I agree with your idea that a real-life hero differs from a hero in literature. Based on descriptions like Campbell’s, there seem to be many rules about what constitutes a hero in literature. The blog question suggests that the term hero is “overused” in every day life, but I think that is not possible as the definition of an every day hero is much looser than that of one in literature. You said that a hero can range from a more typical example like a soldier to someone that is often underappreciated such as a mother and this is true. I like how you included the criteria “good” in your example, because I feel that this is necessary. Campbell mentions the idea of morality when it comes to heros, and with this I agree. A person can do something heroic, but doing so only for selfish reasons such as fame or money does not make them a hero.

  8. When I think of the term “hero”, I automatically think of the vast similarities and differences we associate with modern day heroes and heroes in ancient times. A hero in mythology dating back from ancient times is often described as someone who is destined to embark on his or her noble journey and will fight against any enemy or adversity that stands in his or her way. Often times, ancient heroes are destined for their fates by Divine beings or are granted with powers and advantages the ordinary person today would not possess. A hero I automatically think of as having this advantage is Hercules, as he had more strength than any other man on the earth and was able to complete many of his tasks as a result of this. The ancient hero is selfless, self-sacrificing, brave, and destined for either greatness or met with unfortunate tragedy. He or she faces beasts and creatures that strike fear into our hearts and although they are not “real”, the emotions they represent are as real as the actual hardships the modern day hero faces in this lifetime.

    When I think of a modern day hero, I conjure up images of military soldiers, police officers, firefighters, and other people who make it their purpose in life to save and protect the lives of others. These people put their lives on the line every single day to ensure our safety and there is no other act in the world that could possibly be described as more heroic. Like the ancient hero, these modern day examples of heroes are also selfless, brave, and courageous. But unlike the ancient heroes, who so often seem to have their heroic destinies bestowed upon them, the modern day heroes are different because they chose this path of life for themselves and not by any kind of divine intervention or other means. The modern day heroes are real people who defend and save the lives of actual human beings and not some fabricated Gods or Goddesses unlike the ancient heroes.

    Another modern day hero I think of is simply the “common” every day type of hero–a person whose purpose or chosen career in life is not to save or defend the lives of others and yet they do just this anyway. This usually occurs in a time of crisis where there is no time to think so the person just acts courageously and “in the moment”. Unlike the story of Hercules, where a mythical man possessed strength unmatched by anyone else in the world, this modern day common hero may just be a mother or father at the scene of a car accident who lifts a car off of their child in order to save the child’s life. This is considered a phenomenal act that should not physically be able to occur, and yet these modern day people demonstrate such heroic acts are indeed possible.

    As the ancient day and modern day heroes have their similarities and their differences, I think the greatest element to extract from both stories is to look at the adversities and challenges they faced. The modern day hero faces fires, crime, and the possibility of death–either their own demise of that of someone else. The ancient hero faced creatures and beasts such as dragons, Sirens, and the Cyclops, and although they still faced the possibility of death, all of these monsters were fabricated. However, I think it is the fear and the terror these beasts portrayed that make them comparable to the real life adversities faced today. I think the ancient heroes of the past and the battles they fought serve as an analogy that ever since the dawn of time, there existed a hero in each and every one of us and that no matter what battles we encountered, we would be able to face them–just as the modern heroes exemplify to this very day.

    • I like how you broke downed the different kinds of heroes and showed the similarities and differences between them. I also liked how you said that there is a hero in all of us regardless of what the battles we endure. Reading your post helped me put together my own thoughts.

  9. I think there are many things that make up a hero that range from what the person has done and what it is they do. There are normal people who become a hero for an act of heroism in an unusual circumstances. Then there are people who chose to dedicate their life to serving other people as a profession. However the intentions of these people have to be truly selfless or else they cannot truly be a hero. There are many false heroes who take the role of a hero for publicity and power.
    An example of normal people being heroic would be a group of people in Alabama who lived in an apartment complex that caught on fire. They became aware that there was still a boy trapped on the second floor, and ran below the balcony under a stairwell to catch him before he was killed. These people were able to put their lives in danger for the sake of someone else’s wellbeing.
    There are also professionals who dedicate their lives to helping others and would even risk their lives for others. These people include members of our military who fight for our freedom, police and fire fighters who risk their life every day to protect and save citizens. This also extends to healthcare professionals who not only work to save people who are dying, but who will do selfless life threatening tasks like trying to stop the Ebola outbreak. People don’t need to risk their lives to be hero’s however, as long as they are helping others for the sole intention of being selfless and giving. An example of this would be people that work on projects with Habitat for Humanity or Peace Corps.
    I think it’s also important to distinguish the people who aren’t heroes, but try to pose as one to benefit themselves. A perfect example of this would be Nancy Brinker, the CEO of the Susan G. Komen foundation who exploits her position in a charity organization for breast cancer, by taking home nearly $700,000 a year. I also think our law makers would fit this description. They claim to be selfless people who want to serve the American people, but are willing to cut the salaries and benefits of the military and police, while raising their own ridiculous salaries and pensions on top of collecting bribes from corporations.

  10. Defining what a hero is in a world where that word is constantly misused can be a challenging task, but I will attempt to do so. Ultimately, I believe a hero is someone who is magnanimous and it is because of that characteristic why they have that spark in them that drives them to be selfless, helpful and even courageous. It starts with that innate kindness and then the other characteristics may stem from that. The term “hero” is clearly overused because finding these qualities in people is a rarity. Albeit these qualities are rare in people it doesn’t mean that anybody can’t be a hero, they do not have to be superhuman; they are the people who are making a difference in other people’s lives.
    A hero today might be someone who saves lives, doing so is their profession, (similar to the magnanimity and bravery of hero’s in various stories) but it may just be someone who is there for you. Suppose you were on the fringes of depression/suicide and there came someone who helped you, saved you from its clutches, (I may be oversimplifying this process, but there is the general idea) and that person is indeed a hero in your eyes.
    It is clear that people who have heroic professions are modern day heroes, but I want to expand on the idea that ordinary people can be heroes. With my example earlier, it may very well be a psychologist that saves that person, but it may also just be a good friend. Yet with both instances there is a drive in those people to save that suffering person, and that is heroic. In the eyes of the rescued their rescuer is a hero, and that’s what counts.

    • I really like how you pointed out that a hero can be someone who saves another from committing suicide. I would have never thought of someone like that as a hero until you said that. But it does make sense. Those people are saving the lives of others, like a fire-fighter or policeman would from a dangerous situation.

  11. Personally I find it difficult to establish exactly what a hero is because I interpret it as an adjective rather than a noun. I think that at one point or another every person displays heroic attributes. Society has presented “The Hero” icon in several ways ranging from Super-heroes to police men. Whenever someone does something that pleases the majority of society, they’re labeled a hero. When pilot Chesley Schillenburger landed that plane in the Hudson River he was known as a hero worldwide; but does that nessecarily make a little girl’s Daddy any less of a hero when he goes back to the grocery store to get her doll she left behind? In my opinion, the answer is no. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks those responsible were immediately labeled terrorists among the Westernized part of the world, but miles away were the families of those hijackers praying over the deaths of their heroes? Perspective plays the biggest role in describing or defining what or who is a hero. I agree with Joseph Campbell’s break down on the six elements that make up a Hero story in terms of story-telling. But the fact of the matter is that there lies a large gap between stories and reality. In the real world heroes come in all of us and we act on those instincts in certain situations; one might show it through pursuing a career in the military to protect and serve their country while others might show it through being caring parents and working hard to provide for their children. The art of being a hero doesn’t come from some internal motivation like Campbell suggests but rather it is normally a product of acting selfless and serving those around you. Any of us can be a hero and all of us are a hero in one way or another.

    • I really liked how you stated that perspective plays a big part in defining just what makes someone a “hero”. Your example of the 9/11 attacks and how those responsible for them were labeled evil terrorists among the Western World and yet their actions were deemed heroic by the terrosist organization they were affiliated with was perfect in explaining how one’s perspective on a situation can alter one’s status from a “hero” to a “villian”.

  12. Clearly, a hero can be defined a bunch of different ways, by a bunch of different people. This diversity of the meaning of a hero is what I feel though can make a broad statement that a hero may not actually be able to be defined, like many other concepts of culture in our world today.
    A hero to me can be just about anyone. I feel like many heroes come from a leader. I say this because the hero in whatever situation may be appropriate is someone who took the courage and passion to do something to make a better difference. I also feel though, that like other people have said, my understanding of a hero in these terms is more of what may be your “everyday hero.”
    This is what I mean by it can be just about anyone. Your “everyday” average person, can be a hero, maybe not to you, but to someone else. This is why I do not think that hero can be defined, under one meaning.
    Of course, on the other hand, there are superheroes, and fictional characters that are meant to be heroes of some fictional story.
    However, I think that the popularity of what a superhero is has lead many people to believe that heroes are not heroes unless they have done something extraordinary, which your “average” people cannot perform. Superheroes are a great inspirational figure, but I do not think that superheroes should be the example of what a hero is.

  13. I think that the term “hero” is a very specific title that is difficult to achieve. However, I do think that anyone can be heroic. Working for charity, standing up for people, and a lot of other morally good things can make a person heroic, but to be a hero it takes something extraordinary.

    A soldier who risks his or her life fighting for our country and defending his or her fellow soldiers can be a hero. A teacher who protects his or her students from a gunman or an average man who stops a bank robbery could also be called heroes. I think that a hero must stand in the face of fear and be selfless and brave, and that’s how they accomplish their heroic task.

    I feel that in this modern world heroes are valued much less than in the past. All over the world there are people saving lives and doing extraordinary things but only the occasional story hits the news or is even heard by anyone outside of where it happened.

  14. When I first hear the word “hero,” the first thing that automatically comes to my mind are comic book heroes, like Superman, Batman, etc. I think of the tight pants and the stereotypical cape waving in the wind. However, when I analyze the term, it means someone who does something nice for someone else without expecting anything in return. With this definition, I think of fire-fighters, policemen, etc. These people risk their lives to help us in any way they can. Whether they are going into a burning building or chasing down the “bad guy,” they will do anything to keep us safe. To me, a hero is defined by their moralities. A true hero will do the right thing when their morality is questioned. This can happen anytime and anywhere. A hero could be the kid running to give a man back his wallet that he dropped. Heroes will do what they think is right thing to do without even thinking about it. I believe that anyone can be a hero, even if it is only to one person. Heroes do not have to have super powers and have a flowing cape behind them. They can be found in the world around us. You just have to look closely at the people around you to find the true heroes.

  15. What is a hero? A hero can be defined as many things. Some of us consider heros to be the police, fire fighters, the army etc. Others think more deeply and consider a hero someone like Ghandi or Martin Luther King, who stood up for things they believed in (and freedom from tyranny) against the government.

    I think a hero is anyone who acts selflessly to help someone else. I’m not saying that paid individuals aren’t some definition of a hero, but a true hero lies in someone who will risk everything to fight for the good that they believe in, even if it means harm to themselves. I believe historically that Lincoln and Kennedy were heros, because they took risks to help out their country in times of severe crisis. A hero could truly be anyone, but it has to involve a selfless act for the better good to truly be named one.

  16. Hero is a word used a lot today. I believe that a hero has to have several qualities. These include leadership, strength, and power. A hero must also have good morals. I believe that in todays world a the word hero can be used to describe a role model. This can include anyone from a parent, to an athlete, to a celebrity. Everyone can have a different opinion on who is a hero. For example I may believe that a particular person is a hero but someone else may disagree based on their morals or beliefs. Basically anyone who you use as a role model that you want to emulate is a hero.
    A hero can also be fictional. A good example of this is super hero’s, or comic book hero’s. These characters are hero’s because they teach good morals. Another reason they are hero’s are that they display qualities that every person should strive to emulate. Hero is a word that everyone has a different definition for.

  17. The idea of heroes have been around since of the first stories. People have always looked up to these excellent people in both real life and in myth and legend. Heels have always layer a ground work for how people should strive to be and work for. In the stories of myths some are godley or extraordinary and some are as common as you or me and can do great things such as some of the stories of men like Beowulf some myths contain real people some fake but all great men that have myths about them.
    Men like this are the ones thought to be heroes; however, are not the true heroes under my definition of the word, but these men do help to create them. My definition of a hero is the everyday hero such as doctors, police, firefighters, teachers, and even your parents these are the true heroes. Heroes are the people that will go above and beyond for people and think of others first. People such as these will react not because it will get them somthing or somewhere but because it will help other people’s lives and shape them to be better. The heroes of the real world are selfless and may not have swords or shields or powers, but are driven by the hope and understand of a better world for everyone. Heroes of real life though can almost not be real unless we have the fake ones cause these are the stories we are told that inturn make us better people. These stories teach us to be noble and care for others.
    Myths such as these can be found in May places and have laid the guidelines to be a good selfless person. One example of this could even be the bible where some stories are complete myths but have moral values that help people behind them. Due to this fact both the heroes of myth and the real world are heroes. This is due to the fact of what I previously said that the heroes of myth can shape the characters of the real everyday heroes who work everyday for others. The heroes of myth and the heros of the real world will never go away and both are essential to the development of the next wave of everyday heroes and is truley a beutiful thing.

  18. Generally, when the word hero emerges, one thinks of bravery, emotional and physical strength, heart, struggle, and perseverance, but there is so many forms of the character “hero”, and I believe it’s an individual’s discretion of whom meets the criteria of a real hero. The first form of heroes are those of religion, and gods that have been illustrated in religious texts and stories for centuries. I feel as if though these figures provide a source to follow in ways of morals, and ethical choices that followers may make in their lives. Modern examples such as the coined phrase, “What Would Jesus Do; WWJD”, is an example of this, where followers are inspired by this god, and try to imitate similar morals and ideas, because they look up their god, and it gives people something to believe in. Heroes are individuals who go beyond a normal human expectations. There is your typical fictional heroes, or “superheroes,” if you will, who use powers to help the good of their people, and always, “save the day.” Then there are the real heroes, in my eyes, the everyday heroes, your police officers, your military, your first responders, your fire fighters, the men and women who put others before themselves, and care more about helping people.

    • Putting yourself before others is definitely a true sign of a hero. The doctors, first responders, military, police, and fire fighters are real heroes in today’s world. All really good points you made.

  19. You can go up to anyone and ask the question “What is a hero?” and you will get a variety of responses. The reason why you’ll get a variety of answers is because each person has their own idea or characteristics of what they think a hero is. In my opinion I think there are two kinds of heroes; fictional / supernatural and every day heroes. Both of these types of heroes have characteristics of courage and selflessness who inspire people.

    Fictional / supernatural heroes in my opinion are those who are above the “norm”. Whether it is in the category of literature, religion, or entertainment these heroes are not just ordinary people that you past down the streets. Heroes in literature, like Hercules or Achilles. Heroes in religion like Moses. Heroes in entertainment like Superman and Batman. All these heroes are people we know with extraordinary abilities whether it be super strength or the ability to fly or part the seas. Unfortunately there are not people in real life who can do these kind of abilities that we know of, but the stories of these heroes have lessons or morals instilled in them. Their stories show the struggle of life’s ups and downs, overcoming challenges, showing the good in mankind, and etc. Those things are also showed in the stories of every day heroes.

    Everyday heroes can be fire fighters, policemen, historical / social movement, and even just someone on the street. These heroes also show courage and selflessness who can inspire others with their heroic acts. People who put themselves in danger, whether physically or morally, for the safety or good of others are heroes. People who go against what is considered the “norm” in society to make a difference for others are heroes. They do not necessarily have to do something extraordinary to be considered a hero, like running into a burning building, but they can also do acts that inspire people as well. For example, people in my family I consider them heroes not because they’ve done something extraordinary but they have shown courage and endurance in their lives to over come obstacles they’ve faced.

    Being a hero is up to interpretation between the two types. The two types have the same characteristics and messages to the world. The difference is how the heroes show those characteristics to us. They can show it through the stories of them, on the news or in the movies, or just from acts we witness everyday.

  20. The meaning of the word Hero can be defined in so many ways. There is no perfect definition of a real life hero. In movies, in books, and on TV heroes are defined by similar guidelines. Each hero fits into a “textbook” definition. In real life a hero is just a regular person who does not have any super powers, but still saves the world in their own way.

    Heroes in our every day lives are doctors, fire fighters, police officers, EMT’s. nurses, and a hero may not even have a job title. It could be a person who helps to save the planet by eliminated or reducing waste and keeping their community clean or even a person who works at a local animal shelter saving animals. Anyone who makes a real difference in the world can be defined as a hero.

    Heroes are not usually dressed in costume and given a title. Heroes in text or on screen are usually made up, but either way they provide good examples of morals and hope.

    Even most religious figures do not fit into a single description because they all differ in some way. However, all heroes are people who lead and set good examples for people to follow. Heroes help set guidelines and keep order and peace in a chaotic world. So really anyone can be a hero.

  21. There are many forms of heroes ranging from those we find in mythology, television and comic books to the everyday person whose heroic acts often go unrecognized. Of course, in a world full of tragedy, violence, and immorality, all types of hero’s are important, but one type of hero sticks out in my mind as the most beneficial to the world. This type of hero is probably the rarest and is often considered a pariah to society, making their efforts that much more notable. The type of hero I am describing I would identify as a moral hero. A person who sticks to their foundational moral beliefs regardless of the consequences to their lives or well-being and regardless of the fact that they will face immense pressures from society to conform and participate in immoral or heinous acts. The ultimate hero is a person who does not fall victim to systemic evil, even with the encouragement or demands of their peers, bosses, commanders, or governments. This type of hero does what is right even when everyone surrounding them is doing the opposite and accepts being vilified by the majority at least (in most cases) until they have passed away and future societies have looked back on history and given the individual a new, less biased judgment. The type of hero I am envisioning is not the soldier (which many people consider a hero) but the soldier who refuses to follow orders that are not compatible with his or her moral compass. Not the journalist who brings us the mainstream issue from a hugely popular perspective but rather the journalist who brings us the truth, regardless of the resistance from the establishment and even the masses. A hero is not the biggest or the strongest or even the smartest, but the person who has an unprecedented capacity for empathy which allows him or her to put themselves in the shoes of others and stand up for what they know to be right, even when everyone is telling them to stand down.

  22. When the term real-life hero is mentioned, most think of police officers, firefighters, and soldiers who risk their own lives and save others every day. These people are brave and face dangerous and crucial tasks. However, they fit Joseph Campbell’s version of a hero as the difficult tasks they face are the ones that they are ready for, and the adventures they are ready for is the one they get. My view of a “real-life” hero is a bit different, which isn’t to say that the folks mentioned above are not heroes. Just a different kind of hero.

    Heroes are those who take on tasks that are outside of there comfort zone, and accept an adventure that they are not quite ready for or comfortable with. A “real-life” hero is someone who stands on principle, even if they stand alone. They are selfless and righteous, and their actions are morally sound. Some heroes lead using these traits, and become recognized throughout the world. A great example of a real-life hero is Martin Luther King Jr. He lead a movement in which he and others would face great adversity. It would be a long, hard struggle, but he knew what the right thing to do was and stood strong on his principle. Other heroes are lesser known, though just as courageous. An abused wife with kids lives in fear every day. It takes all of the courage she has and a little extra for her to leave, and in no way is she comfortable doing so. But she steps out of her comfort zone, and pursues what is right for her and her kids. She is a hero.

    Whether it is a widely praised hero, or an unnoticed one, what makes a hero so valued is their willingness to endure no matter the endeaver. A hero does what is right and approaches life with an armor of integrity, and selflessness; they would rather die on their feet, than live the remainder of their lives on their knees.

  23. There is no one answer for the definition of a hero. A hero can be someone who inspires and encourages greatness. A hero can be a remarkable person who accomplishes remarkable feats. A hero can be a normal, everyday person who chooses to do something small to help their community. Everyone and anyone can be a hero; a hero can come from anywhere. Anybody can be a hero, it’s not something you have to study or practice at. As long as you have the drive to better not only yourself, but the people around you. Simply put heroes are those who inspire. They use their actions to influence, give hope and grant courage to others. Above all, a hero is someone whose selflessness, bravery, and moral goodness encourage even just one person to better themselves and others. Heroism is not equivalent to flashiness, there are no capes or laser vision needed. The truth is to be a hero a person only needs to inspire by their example.

  24. The term hero I believe is such an elastic word, we have seen over the past years through film and literature that sometimes a hero isn’t this perfect being that always fights evil and injustice. Much like the film “The Dark Knight” we can see how batman is willing to let the city hate him because Harvey Dent was the symbol of hope and justice to the community. Sometimes we may not fully understand our heroes but to at least realize how much they are willing to sacrifice for the better of others. We can relate this idea to people in our everyday lives such as police men, military veterans, and even our own parents or people we love and care about. They impact our lives in such a way and we need to take in consideration why these people mean so much to us in various ways. The title of being a hero isn’t far to reach, something as in being there for someone in their time of need could help that person more than you would think.

  25. When I first sat down and thought about this question a lot of phrase and ides came into my head.
    “I mean what is a HERO”

    Honestly in these days that we’re living in now the concept of a “hero” has been either used loosely or completely out of context. As a child I feel like we were taught to believe that a hero is supposed to be some supernatural being sent to Earth to protect us from all things evil. Now don’t get me wrong, at that age “superheroes” actually gave me something to look up too. Honesty, Justice and Integrity trait that I learned not only from the “heroes” on the big screen, but also from the heroes in my life.

    As I grew up I started to realize that the true definition of a hero cannot be descried in just one word or phrase. That a hero is not always going to be perfect and sometimes they are not always going to be able to “save the day”. However, in my opinion a hero is someone who puts their own need behind the need of someone they love and care for; a hero shows those three traits: honesty, justice and integrity. Real heroes live by these morals not only on a day to day basis, but trough the tough time as well and I believe that those are the times that matter the most.

  26. What is a hero? This not a question that I often ask myself or let alone have been asked. More likely, in my own personal experience, I have been asked what makes the villain but this comes from my own need to perfect an ideal of the darkness that balances a heroes light but I am deviating to avoid saying something useful. A hero does not simply find, start, or have thrown at him an adventure or quest he is suited for: if such was ever the case there would be no unique stories, it would just end up being Generic the Story. A hero is someone overcomes trials they were never prepared for, to accomplish that which they themselves didn’t think they could do. No because they should do so but because they felt that they had to, even if the consequences meant their own demise. The hero does not take a reward or glory from success, they take solace from knowing what was done had to be done for what was right, even at great cost. There will be times where it appears the cost is of a deep personal value to the hero: the hero will either pay this cost but begin to regret having done so eventually looking to undo the price they payed at the expense of everything or they don’t pay the cost but become ostracized for their selfishness even though it would be the normal reaction for normal person. But this result creates a compelling villain or eventual anti-hero, where the obvious ideal of the hero would look for the better path, as the sacrifice would never be worth the outcome. This better path opens the way for the savior hero ideal but this exist solely in the realm of fantasy, while the truth of the matter is there will be times of sacrifice of which there is no way to avoid a terrible outcome where will be a need for a resolve that might lead to self-destruction simply to prevent an even worse outcome. I kinda forgot where I was going with this. I think it was that humanizing the hero opens up the unavoidable options of even through great sacrifice the heroic actions are reduced to nothing and hope becomes despair from not being able to overcome the adversity then the hero stops being the hero. The point of this became the hero will always find the better way, no matter the circumstances. So the hero should have an empathetic view rather than sympathetic. I say should because the hero can only understand the guidelines of the correct path rather than follow the idea as a strict set of rules, lest the idea of becoming greater than they are becomes a reality and the hero becomes some form of dictating monster in the form of a hero.

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